How Much of the World Can We Know?
David Sausage: How come you’re here in Japan this time?
Gasius: You dicta-phoning it?
David Sausage: Yeah
Gasius: Then what?
David Sausage: And then I’m gunna type it up.
Gasius: Are you?
David Sausage: Yup
David Sausage: You’ve been to Japan before and this is your second time s….
Gasius: You’re not going to video me?
David Sausage: No no no no no no..
Gasius: Well I apologise cause I’m eating my lunch.
David Sausage: No no no no..
David Sausage: We can put a photograph on there.
Gasius: (pulls funny face)
David Sausage: Laughing hang on I’m gonna take a picture.
Gasius: That’s a terrible one.
David Sausage: So er How come yer..
David Sausage: TELL Us about why you are here Russell!
Gasius: I’m here to do some work for Make Art Your Zoo, to do a textiles exhibition in LaForete for fashion week and to have a look about… Get some inspiration. Maybe do a small show with ‘Pumfka’ spelled P-M-K-F-A?
David Sausage: I’ll check it out later.
David Sausage: What’s your impressions of Japan? What’s your first impressions of Japan?
Gasius: Well I have been before so I kinda knew what to expect… My first impressions are always the same which are…. This place is BONKERS!
Gasius: its upside-down… generally. Culturally this place is opposite to us.
David Sausage: What do you think of those works over there? We’re sat outside the Yokohama Museum of Art looking at a row of sculptures at the entrance. What do you…
Gasius: I hate them.
David Sausage: You said they were terrifying earlier.
Gasius: Yeah, they’re scary. And not in a good way. I know, scary can be good but… I dunno, they’re a bit too Tim Burton for me.
David Sausage: Aohhh…
Gasius: Awuggggh! (Chewbacca sound)
David Sausage: How would you describe yourself. Are you a graffiti artist, an artist or something else?…
Gasius: Err I started a graffiti writer. I dont really write graffiti much anymore. I tag a little bit. Erm, I just don’t have time for it. I would just describe myself as an artist, and also at certain times, I’d describe myself as a designer.
Really, now, I design to make money. And I make for love.
David Sausage: Who would you describe as having a major influence on you, when you started making art for yourself?
Gasius: Hmm. Difficult to pinpoint.
It’s massively varied from now and when I started making art. I started painting canvasses when I was at college, ’97 I think. When did I do my first show… Ahm… …anyway. Influences? Then, definitely graffiti. People that were pushing graffiti to be not graffiti like Twist and Mike Giant, esp then.
David Sausage: Giant, you mean Shepard Fairey right?
Gasius: No. Mike Giant.
David Sausage: Mike Giant?
Gasius: Shepard Fairey actually stopped writing Giant cos Mike Giant was already writing Giant.
David Sausage: Ah!
Gasius: That’s when Shepard Fairey actually started writing OBEY.
David Sausage: I see. Right.
Gasius: And I guess that was all through skateboarding, skateboard art. I discovered Twist and Giant through skating. Giant was doing alot of the artwork for Think and Barry McGee (Twist) was doing alot of the artwork for Mad Circle and they were both my favourite skate companies because of the artwork. And then I found out afterwards it was them and that’s why I liked the artwork so much because it was graff(iti)-related.
David Sausage: So, You skated when you were younger?
David Sausage: I didn’t know that.
Gasius: I skated from the age of errr… young! I guess 10 probably. I still skate occasionally but again, I don’t have time for it. And then, influences have changed loads over the years. I’d say my biggest influences now are probably… Guston and this German guy called Uwe Henneken.
David Sausage: An artists or a graff-writer?
Gasius: Oh artist. I don’t really look at graff much anymore. Uhm, and also Ged Quinn.
David Sausage: Ged Quinn?
Gasius: Yeah he’s amazing. I mean obviously there’s loads more but ehm…
David Sausage: That’s who’s really rockin it.
Gasius: Yeah those guys are my favourites.
David Sausage: As someone who’s started off doing graffiti, and then gone on to do artwork as you yourself and er anyone, would call it. What do you think about the way graffiti has been assimilated and become part of the mainstream to the extent that… It’s quite prominent now with art in the art scene, in fashion design. What do you think about it’s influence on mainstream and contemporary art?
Gasius: I guess, when you look at it it’s easy to see why it became so big cos it’s so easy to access. I mean if you look at all art that gets massively popular it’s easy to access for everyone and that’s why it’s popular because people can look at it and instantly get it. And that is just instant. It’s political and subversive and it’s edgy and it’s… Yeah… uhm. But I’m kind of not into it, at all. I don’t know what I think about it getting big. It’s changed it a lot. It’s changed everything. It’s made a lot of people come out of the woodwork who maybe shouldn’t have. And… Yeah… It’s like anything though, it’s about opinion on what’s good and what isn’t.
David Sausage: Right. Shall we go inside?
Yokohama Triennial finishes on Sunday, November 6th. You can visit three different sites BankART Studio, Koganechou, and the main Yokohama Museum of Art with a day ticket for ¥1500 with a free shuttle bus between the three throw in for free. Koganechou was a real let-down so save your time for the other two.
See http://yokohamatriennale.jp/en/ for details.
Gasius: How’s things?
David Sausage: Yeah they’re really good thanks.
Gasius: Wahh… The triennial is on innit? We can go hang out and see some things.
David Sausage: Yah? In Hull?
David Sausage: Haaaahaha I thought you were talking about Hull!
Gasius: No… I’m not going to Hull… I could live without going there!
David Sausage: Bloody hell! I thought, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a tri.. Triangu…Triangle anything in Hull!!!
Gasius: Try drugs
David Sausage: Yeah there is something like that on.
Gasius: Yeah, it’s on til November.
David Sausage: I’m just not arsed about it.
David Sausage: Is just yknow too… Woh! Is that Hard Gay?
(looks over to a domed tent next door to the Gasius Textiles Exhibit)
Gasius: Wuh….? (Turns head) Is that actually his name?!
David Sausage: Yeah… I think it might be him!!!
Gasius: Have you seen his sculpture? It’s the most amazing sculpture I’ve ever seen!!!
David Sausage: Well, that’s funny because I was only talking about him with my wife the other day. He was really famous on TV about a year or two ago. He was on all the shows and that and then what happens is…
Things kind of switch very quickly and they kind of disappear from TV. He was a one trick pony.
Gasius: Go and look at his sculpture. It’s amazing. He’s actually a pretty good painter…
David Sausage: Aw is that really him?
Gasius: Could be a doppelganger. Ruth this is Spam.
Ruth: Hello. Have you been to a wedding?
David Sausage: Ahhhhh… I’m a priest!
Gasius: He is actually a priest.
Ruth: Are you? Oh.. WOW!
David Sausage: So… Er………. Yeah… I kinda………
Ruth: Which church do you work with?
David Sausage: Errr lots of different ones.
Ruth: Oh so freelance?
David Sausage: (Nervous laughter) aha yeah freelance priest, that’s my gig.
Ruth: Oh right…. Haha ….. Ha
David Sausage: Is that your tent?
Ruth: It’s my friends tent, I’m just helping.
David Sausage: Your English is very smooth, why?!
Ruth: I used to live in London.
Gasius: Go and check out the sculpture dude.
(Walks over to Hard Gay)
Hard Gay: かっこいいですか？マジですか？…きねん にねん？
(Hard Gay is peering over his glasses at this point properly staring this young Japanese kid out, everyone is laughing.)
David Sausage: Excuse me, can I ask you a few questions?
Hard Gay: A few questions? Yes.
David Sausage: What happened to that guys arse?
Hard Gay: What happened?!
David Sausage: Yeah it looks like it’s been sucked in or something…
Hard Gay: Ah huh… Nanto yu da ne?!… Ahm pardon me?
David Sausage: I mean WHAT HAPPENED?!
Hard Gay: What happened? Everything…
In the world…
David Sausage: …Got sucked into his arse?!
(Laughter) Got sucked into the arse!
David Sausage: That’s got to hurt… Wow… (Laughter)
Hard Gay: (Laughter) so, how about that?
David Sausage: Yeah, it’s very impressive.
Hard Gay: Oh thank you!
David Sausage: I like the style. This is Hard Gay right?
Hard Gay: (Surprised) yeah yeah yeah you know me?
David Sausage: You’re Hard Gay?
Hard Gay: Yeah
David Sausage: (Laughter) yeah very good!
Hard Gay: Real Hard Gay ね?
David Sausage: Excellent. I didn’t know you were a painter.
Hard Gay: YES Paintarrrrrrr! Performer, Comedian,,, EVERYTHING!!! Into the arse.
David Sausage: HA Ha ha,,. Into the arse! You give it everything!
Hard Gay: Heh. You,,, Do you live in Japan?
David Sausage: I do yeah. That’s why I know you.
Hard Gay: I design t-shirts and badges. I designed these (shows badges)
David Sausage: Oh かっこいい！
David Sausage: Thank you. Thanks a lot. Nice to meet you.
Hard Gay: Thank you! Thank you so…
David Sausage: I’ve got a card. I’m gonna give you m’card.
Hard Gay: Cut?
David Sausage: Card. Here.
Hard Gay: Chat mat…
David Sausage: ちょっと待って
Hard Gay: Chowmatte… Oh… CHOTTOMATTE! (laughs) ちょっと待って！! Haha ONLY chotto matte?!
David Sausage: Only chotto matte.
(Walking down the stairs of LaForet on the way to power lunch with Gasius, Ruth and Micke aka PMKFA)
David Sausage: You know what? I don’t know if I should show you this… I’m not sure if you’re Christian or not but here’s my card…
Ruth: My parents are. That’s where my name came from.
David Sausage: Sorry if you find this offensive or something but…
Gasius: He’s only allowed to show it to real Christians!
David Sausage: Where are we going Rus?
Gasius: No idea. Let’s follow these two.
Michael: “Monster Cosplay” woh…
Gasius: What is Cosplay?
David Sausage: Puttin costumes on
Micheal: Playing around in costumes
Gasius: Play. Costume. Right.
Ruth: They’re gonna get dressed up and do Cosplay in the karaoke.
David Sausage: Really? In a karaoke room?
David Sausage: Man that sounds good I’ll be able to rock my priest outfit.
Gasius: Yeah you’ll be able to go after work. Go to karaoke and all the kids’ll be like fucking WOW that’s the new shit. Start rocking it with a top hat.
David Sausage: I think it’d look good.
Gasius: Yeah. Do you think they’ll let you customise it?
David Sausage: Yeah! I’ll put some gold skulls on it next to the crosses!
Gasius: Oh that reminds me have you seen that weird religion church thing, they’ve got like swastikas on the doors?
David Sausage: That’s Buddhist symbols.
Gasius: They’ve got these like saints on the outside… Definitely NOT Buddhist. These Japanese saints have got like halos that’s not Buddha is it?
David Sausage: Really woh I’d like to see that.
Gasius: Does Buddha have halos?
David Sausage: Yeah… He can rock halos as well.
Gasius: Yeah he can do it… It’s not copyrighted!
Michael: Have you seen the fake cathedral in Aoyama? The fake chapels they look slightly smaller.
David Sausage: Yeah they look like you could pick them up dont they?
Michael: You organise weddings?
David Sausage: Nah it’s not me I work for an agency.
Michael: They just want the image don’t they?
David Sausage: Exactly. I went to the interview and the priest there was like “you know, I like black people they’re very joyful and happy but we can’t use them in the weddings”
Gasius: Ohhhhhh man!
David Sausage: He said it didn’t fit the image so, it’s a shame. I just thought, you realise if you said that in America you’d be killed!
Gasius: Well it depends whereabouts in America you said that. If it was Southern America they wouldn’t flinch probably. They’d be yeah that’s alright mate, fine.
Later in the restaurant
Michael: Do you drink whisky?
Gasius: Yeah sometimes. Generally I try steer clear of spirits since I was ill from them.
Michael: Are you recovered from that?
Gasius: Yeah 99% …99.9%
David Sausage: You recovered?
Gasius: Yeah I was quite ill.
Michael: You feel different with the 0.1%?
Gasius: It’s just different if I drink a lot with stuff like that.. Well not with stuff like that it…
David Sausage: WELL THAT DON’T MAKE Y’ SPECIAL!!! Y’THE SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE!!!
Gasius: Well yeah..
Michael: It’s good that you took him down.
David Sausage: Took him down a peg. That’s m’job. No, but you had a proper problem with drink didn’t you for ages I remember Ziml told me your body couldn’t tolerate alcohol could it?
David Sausage: You, Pinky and Ziml. All three of you guys have been saying you’re not that bothered about graffiti anymore. But that to me is crazy. That was always what it was all about.
Gasius: Yeah. Yeah yeah. At the start of it, but it’s just changed now. I mean it’s just not a priority for me. I would paint if I had loads of time but I don’t have time to draw letters you know. When I have time to draw I need to do just drawings or paintings or prints. I dunno. There’s just no time furrit.
David Sausage: Everytime I paint I’ll just freestyle it. I don’t use any sketches, I just paint.
Gasius: But for me, to make the effort to go and paint I want to have an outline that I’m happy with so it’s like, as fresh as possible bit of lettering cos otherwise for me it’s pointless. It has to be the best I could do.
David Sausage: That’s your approach isn’t it?
Gasius: Yeah, it’s always been about the nicest possible letters for me. I can’t paint an outline from three years ago. I need to sit there for a good few hours and drawing drawing drawing until I get each letter the right balance of freshness. I just don’t draw letters anymore it’s just not… See that’s what I mean, I don’t have a log of outlines I can just pull out and say I really want to paint this one. And otherwise, without that I just don’t have the drive for it… I dunno.
David Sausage: You’re more into the artwork now right? The painting?
Gasius: Yeah. But even painting characters on the wall is a way of doing it. Me and Dan (Mudwig) for quite a while were painting walls with weird shit but… I just think the whole Urban Art thing… I don’t know what it’s like here, it’s probably very different but, in England especially, the whole Urban Art thing has just become so fucking played, you know (laughing)
David Sausage: Yeah, I know what you’re saying.
Gasius: It’s become like a dirty word Urban Art it’s just like eughhhh!
David Sausage: And it’s almostlike..
Gasius: ..I don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t want my work to be bracketed in that. That’s some other shit that those guys are doing. Yeah I came from graffiti and its the most important thing in my work like but,
David Sausage: It just seems like a waste to me. All this stuff now. Their work it doesn’t have roots in proper graffiti like you guys, I mean Ziml and Pinky too. All these guys now they’re like “yeah, I do Urban Art” they’re milking it big time.
Gasius: Yeah I know.
David Sausage: I wouldn’t let these guys if I were you! I’d be like this is where I started. Graffiti.
Gasius: You, true but it’s become such a cliche I just don’t want to become part of it. You know what I mean? So, cheese. It’s just cheese.
Gasius: And like fair enough, you’re selling stuff but it’s got no integrity or whatever. I don’t really wanna become like doing the street adverts. You know there’s guys that just go and paint shutters down Brick Lane it’s just like, doing their street logo over and over again and then doing screen prints of it and then selling prints because of the street advertisement and it’s just like – that’s not graffiti.
Michael: It’s a formula.
Gasius: Yeah it becomes formulaic. I dunno, there’s loads of hideous stencils and its just people are selling stuff because it’s A stencil and…
Michael: But does it sell though?
Gasius: Some of it. Yeah some of it sells really well and it’s just shit you’ve never heard of. Random random stuff and they’ve probably spent a lot of time on online forums and it’s just like, they’ve got themselves related to things.
Michael: Are there a lot of galleries and places that stock that?
Gasius: Bits yeah. Not loads but yeah there’s a few. Hideous. I don’t know, I try and ignore it.
David Sausage: Thus is what I’m saying. Bringing it all back to what it is. It’s just going to paint a wall isn’t it? And that’s why I find that really refreshing.
Gasius: Yeah. I mean, I always enjoy it.
David Sausage: Let’s go and paint then.
Gasius: Yeah of course! You’re forcing me into it?
David Sausage: Yeah I totally am!
Gasius: Hahahaha! Funny!